NEWS ‘I’ll be ready’: Why Broncos guns could soon be heated rivals


Kotoni Staggs has declared that if a State of Origin recall came his way, he would be ready to answer a Blues SOS, despite being ruled out of what would have been his final audition.

The Brisbane centre has been withdrawn from Sunday’s clash with the Gold Coast Titans due to a fractured rib, an injury coach Kevin Walters said he could have played with but opted to remain on the side of caution.

It would have been his last chance to impress upon New South Wales coach Michael Maguire that he is the man to help inspire a revival south of the Tweed.

Staggs will need to hope his form has been enough to fend off challenges from Latrell Mitchell, Matt Burton, Jesse Ramien, Joseph Sua’ali’i and Izack Tago for one spot, with Bulldogs skipper Stephen Crichton tipped to take the other.

Thus far, the 24-year-old has done his chances of adding to his sole Blues cap (in 2022) no harm – running for 114m, with more than two tackle busts, per game, while producing his best defensive season (more than 16 tackles a game at 87 per cent efficiency).

That record off the ball is what has impressed Broncos Walters throughout the season, leading him to suggest Staggs was producing his career-best form earlier in the campaign.

But Staggs admitted that while he craved an Origin comeback, he was not allowing those ambitions to hinder his focus at clubland.

“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about Origin. My job is for the Broncos, and if I play good footy in a Broncos jersey, that might find my way into a Blues jersey,” he said on Tuesday morning, before his injury news broke.

“But right now, I’m focused on playing good footy for the club, and this is my first priority. I want to be back there [in the Origin arena] – that’s where the best footy players play, and it’s the biggest game of the year.

“If I just do all my hard work in a Broncos jersey, I might find myself back in a Blues jersey, and if that call comes, I’ll be ready.”

If selected, Staggs could line up against his Brisbane centre partner, Selwyn Cobbo, whom he labelled a must-pick for the Queensland side.

Cobbo played in the Maroons’ series-opening win last year – scoring twice and running 109m, with four tackle busts – before succumbing to a hip injury during the contest.

He was ruled out of Game II, replaced by Xavier Coates, and was unable to claim his place on the flank, but Staggs believes his teammate’s versatility – having shifted to centre this year before impressing at fullback in Reece Walsh’s absence against Manly – warranted a recall.

“He only got a late notice that he was going to play fullback, and he didn’t train there all week … he played out of position and didn’t look like he was out of position,” Staggs said.

“I reckon he deserves the Queensland jersey, for sure. He’s still young and … he loves learning, and he’s been going good this year.”

Cobbo will still be met with stiff competition when Maroons coach Billy Slater names his team next week, after Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Murray Taulagi and Coates all returned from hamstring injuries in Magic Round.

Working in Cobbo’s favour could be his fitness – missing just one game with a minor finger issue – but Tabuai-Fidow confirmed he was not suffering any lingering effects from his injury.

“It feels good. I had those four weeks off being injured, but I think I worked hard on it. I’m back to 100 per cent,” Tabuai-Fidow said.

“I felt confident and to ... go at the speed I was going at, I didn’t have too many worries.

“I’m obviously keen. If I do get the call, I’ll have two games under my belt, which is good for my hammy. I just need to go out there and perform well to get that call.”

Sydney Morning Herald


International Captain
Jan 14, 2015
Yeah it's big to the players and the casual fans but everybody forgets about it two days after the series ends and in the scheme of things means **** all. Should be played at the end of the series with the other gimmick rubbish.

Yeah, its a gimmick 🙄


Forum Staff
Mar 5, 2008
The highest quality rugby league you can ask for, incredible intensity, skill and feats of courage on display - definitely not a 'gimmick'.


State of Origin Rep
Jan 8, 2018
If I have to explain what a morning winger is to you, you must not know anything about rugby league
I obviously know nothing then as it’s not a term I’ve heard before.


NYC Player
Apr 21, 2014
I’m just joking, mate. It was a typo lol

Was meant to say origin winger


Maroon winger
Maroon whinger
Morning wood.

didn't have "origin" in my "WTF bingo card", to be honest
Mr Fourex

Mr Fourex

State of Origin Captain
Apr 9, 2012
Yeah it's big to the players and the casual fans but everybody forgets about it two days after the series ends and in the scheme of things means **** all. Should be played at the end of the series with the other gimmick rubbish.
I think you've got it wrong.....

Predicting you have no real alliance to either state....?


QCup Player
May 21, 2018
Valentine Holmes the morning winger, you could say his jackets on a shoogly peg.


NRL Player
May 22, 2022
I think you've got it wrong.....

Predicting you have no real alliance to either state....?
No I'm a queenslander. Never missed a series and always watch it. Just have no real care for the outcome which is essentially just bragging rights for a day or two for whatever state wins. Would prefer to not have the disruption to the seasons club games


State of Origin Captain
Jun 13, 2019
I’d pick Holmes over Coates game 1 and see how he goes. He has the runs the board and has been an unreal morning winger.

Also prevents too little experience in the back + goal kicking
I think it's Coates best season and I would pick him over Holmes on wing for now, but I know Holmes is best when playing wing so either way we are good.


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